ASYLUM seekers say they set a building alight and turned fire extinguishers on guards during a riot last night at the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in Sydney’s south-west.
About 160 detainees were involved in the disturbance, with an office being set on fire as well as chairs and bins in the grounds.
At least 13 men from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan were on the roof about midnight.
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The protest started with two Kurdish men on the roof about five hours earlier. As the situation escalated, guards were forced to seek shelter as roof tiles were thrown and the fire extinguishers were turned on them.
Mehdi Razai,21, from Afghanistan, said detainees were angry Department of Immigration officials would not meet with them.
”We feel like this is the end of our life, like we will die in here,” he told the Herald by phone from the roof. ”We have been rejected for a protection visa but have not been given a reason.”
Mr Razai said one of the detainees broke his arm attempting to climb on the roof and four other men were badly injured.
”We will stay on the roof until department listens to us,” he said.
According to refugee activist Jamal Daoud, one Iranian protester put a rope around his neck and threatened to jump.
”The [security] officials are saying that they cannot do anything, and they do not have any instructions to deal with the matter,” he said. ”The Department of Immigration is not sending anyone to explore the crisis and try to stop tragedy or to end standoff.”